St Patrick’s Day Muffins

With everything that’s going on with covid-19, we need something fun to do with our kiddos, am I right? My kids are obsessed with these muffins made by @fitnesscarli (Green Muffins)! Usually when we make them, they last all of one day, which I love because they are SO healthy and good for you!!

It’s pretty much the perfect muffin if you ask me… or my kiddos!

International Women’s Day!

I know we all have special women in our lives to celebrate, and it’s so powerful to have a whole day to celebrate them internationally! I have so many women that have molded and shaped me into the woman I am today, and thank goodness for that tribe! From my grandmas, great grandmas, neighbors growing up, aunts, cousins, my sisters, sister-in-laws, teachers, church leaders, friends, coworkers, random women at the store… and the long list could go on and on. But today, the woman that I really want to celebrate is my Mom!

1989
2019

When I think of my mom, and the life that she’s lead to bring her where she is today, I cannot help but to get teary eyed. This woman has lived her life so well, and not only that, but has helped and inspired me to be the best mom I can be.

Baby Rebecca

When she was a young girl, their family was very poor. I try to imagine some of the things that she felt through those situations, in her day in and day out life, and I feel so in awe. Whenever I ask about those days, she never complains. She never talks about those years like it was a burden, or mopes. She always commends her mother for how hard she worked for their family. She gives her the highest praise, and even though I am sure there are things that she missed out on because my grandmother was so busy working so hard, that is never a focus she ever talks about or mentions. That’s so inspiring to me, and really motivates me to not only work hard like my dear Grandmother, but to celebrate the wins in life rather than complain about what isn’t right in my life.

When my mom was in college, she delivered a pizza to a random guy, and just a short while later they were married and had 3 beautiful girls (me and my twin sisters – 22 months apart), all under 3 years old. When I was 3, my birth Dad passed away, she was left with a high school diploma and 3 young girls to provide for. She went into real estate and figured out a way to do such a good job! She is insanely resourceful! I learned that from her! Those young years are kind of a blur to me, but I have some very formative memories instilled in my mind. I remember being at work with my mom racing in the swirly chairs. I remember waking up when it was still dark out to do scripture and prayer before we got ready for school. She was so good at making sure we started our days off right. I remember getting roller skates for Christmas, and wanting to use them so bad, so we got to skate inside in our dining room since the flooring was being replaced. I’ve never been a single parent before, nor do i ever want to, but the things she was able to do with the amount of energy that she had is so impressive!

As we continued to grow up, I remember long talks about boys, stresses of school, my life long dreams and aspirations, ideas that I had to redecorate my bedroom, my love of Nancy Drew, scrapbooking, cheerleading, running, and how to have a relationship with my Heavenly Father. She taught me and shaped me and my siblings into what we are today, and I am so insanely grateful.

Now that she and my Dad are empty nesters and have raised all their babies, they get to enjoy the perks of grandparent life, and they are killing it! My mom recently went back to real estate school, and just passed her state test! I love seeing her go after her dreams like this. Her tenacity to achieve is contagious! She lives with such a zest, and excitement for her grandbabies, and I see that same energy she had when we were growing up with all of our kids. It’s such a beautiful thing to see.

I love you Mom. Thank you for being so resilient, full of life, resourceful, playful, hard working and for teaching me to be that way too.

Universal Studios Orlando… where to stay??

A couple of my friends and I went to Universal for a day, and found this amazing hotel to stay at! Finding a good hotel close to a theme park can be tricky, but the Hyatt House across from Universal was the perfect location, and we had the best time. Their suites are so gorgeous, clean and spacious. They had everything we needed, and more!

First off, the front desk attendant is so courteous and accommodating. She was quick to check us in, and very warm and welcoming.

She let us know that they have a shuttle to the park (just make sure you set your appointment to the park!), and back to the hotel (no reservation needed). With it being right across the street, this is so nice so you can avoid having to pay the $26 it costs to park over at the park. If you can’t make it into the appointment slot that you want, the walk to the park is about 10 minutes, and really gorgeous, so not a bad alternative if worse comes to worse.

The rooms are very clean, modern and spacious! I just kept thinking about how nice it would be to stay in a room like this for a few days, and maybe next time with my whole family. There is plenty of room for everyone! As you walk in, you enter to the kitchen and dining area where you have a full kitchen, storage, plenty of plugs for charging and appliances, and a TV. Then as you keep walking in, you go to the living room with a full sectional couch that folds into a sofa bed, and a tv! Turn right, and there’s a bedroom with a door (which again, with kids is GOLD!), 2 queen beds, which were super comfortable, a tv and a full bathroom!

Part of the fun of staying in a hotel, is to explore the amenities, and this hotel had quite the list! The pool/outdoor area is amazing! It was night, so we sat and enjoyed the nice weather and tranquil ambiance. The pool was well lit and super beautiful! In the same outdoor area, they also had a few little fire pit stations and fun outdoor games like connect four and others to play. The bar also is right there for convenience! It checked off all the entertainment boxes, and provided something for everyone! The fitness facility was also pretty awesome for a hotel gym. I love seeing a clean space to workout in a hotel! It was perfect.

The next morning as we were rushing to get out the door, we couldn’t forget to snag some awesome breakfast! My husband is a hotel breakfast lover, so I made sure to send him some pictures to make him jealous. He would have loved it!! The thing that stood out to me is that they had almond milk! My daughter had a rough transition to dairy when she stopped nursing and whenever we traveled, we had to bring her own almond milk, and it was always such a hassle. I love that they were accommodating to people that may have a similar situation or preference.

They had several hot stations with bacon, sausage, eggs, potatoes. Plus cereal, breads and muffins, fresh fruit wrapped individually (which made for a perfect way to transport a park snack), oatmeal and yogurts. Between my friends and I, we all tried pretty much everything, and it was all really delicious!

I’ve become a little picky when it comes to hotels, and this one has hit all the marks! Beautiful lounge, yummy breakfast, small shop for late night cravings/needs, clean smells, clean floors and bedding, room layout is well thought out, a gym facility, a pool and other fun extra activities, friendly staff, helpful information, lots of accommodations to help their Universal guests.

Thank you Hyatt House across from Universal! We loved spending time with you and are already looking forward to doing it again!

How I create a happy routine.

Ever since the kids got back into school from Christmas break, it’s been somewhat of a pain to get them back into the routine of things. I know I can’t be the only one, so… please… can I get an amen??

I find that with my kids, they really do thrive with structure in their lives, as most kids do. I love being sponaneous and carefree with them, but when school is in session, I need to get them on a routine, otherwise I am dealing with some savage, cranky kids, and that makes for an unhappy mama! I can promise you that. So, what I have found, is that my kids do well when there is guidance, but they get to make choices. I started this when my oldest was 2-3 years old. When we would set out his outfits for the next day, I would give him the option… “would you like to wear this yellow dinosaur shirt, or this green dinosaur shirt” (dinosaurs have been his fave since day 1 I swear!)… and I noticed that by allowing him to make a choice and take ownership of a situation, really gave him power, and it made him feel really good!

So, I tried to take that same concept into these routine charts. I have certain things I want them to accomplish everyday without me having to ask or remind them. And if we can start and end the day that way, without me nagging them, and the kids taking ownership of their choices, it really does create a much more positive home life!

Here’s how the routine lists go… We have a morning routine, evening routine, and a list of extras if somebody needs to be busy or wants to earn some more screen time. The third one doesn’t always get used, but it is handy to have a little list of go to’s of ways to earn something! I have my lists laminated, but you can use a variety of ways to check off without them being laminated. But since I do, I have my kids cross off which task they complete with a dry erase marker, or they’ve even used stickers too. Once they have their card filled, they have free time till it’s time to go to school (or whatever is happening for that day).

I have each list labeled with pictures and words for a few reasons. I like the simplicity of the layout. It’s clean, it’s easy to understand, and for my 3 year old that can’t read yet, he can look at the picture and know exactly what I am expecting him to do. It also helps them recognize words in the future! Major win win!! Plus you can move things around and edit these images pretty easily.

I’m going to give y’all an editable version of these so you can use the one I do, or put whatever images work best for the tasks you need your kids to compete. I hope that as you do use these, you will see an increase in order and happiness in your home! And if you don’t, I sure hope you can get your money back!!! 🙂

Best Pumpkin Iced Cookies!

We all have those fail safe recipes that we save for when we have company or have to impress some new neighbors, and these…. well, these are mine.

They are nothing short of amazing, and fairly simple to throw together.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 c all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. butter softened
  • 1 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 1 c. canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

For the icing

  • 3 Tbsp. milk
  • 1 Tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 c. confectioners sugar

First, mix all the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.

Second, mix the butter and sugar together until smooth. Then add the pumpkin puree, egg and vanilla.

Next, you’ll slowly add your dry ingredients (flour mix) to your wet ingredients (pumpkin mix). After it’s all mixed, you can start dropping 1+ Tbsp at a time on a lined cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 min (I typically do 16 min), and let cool.

While they are baking, combine all ingredients for the icing (milk, melted butter, vanilla and powdered sugar).

Once the cookies have cooled completely, about 20 min, you can put the icing on. To do this, I typically dunk the cookie in top first and just let it sit for a second, then pull it up, let some of the icing drip off, and flip over and set on the cooling rack.

The icing takes about 45 min to set, but I would give about an hour before I stack them or eat (if I can help it).

I hope y’all enjoy this recipe as much as we do! It’s one of our favorite fall family traditions of all time! If you use it, tag me @findingournextadventure and tell me what you think!

I found this recipe at All Recipes (click here).

To the Elderly Woman at Hobby Lobby,

You bruised my heart. I was emotional, and broke down in my car for a solid 20 minutes because of the hurtful words you said. I was crushed that someone would say something like that to another person. You don’t know me. You don’t know my heart. You don’t know the things I have experienced in my life that make me want to parent the way I intentionally do, nor do you know the things I am actively working with my kids on. You don’t know my kids. You see them making noises, and that bothers you. I get it. It bothers me sometimes too. But I’m working with them in MY way. I am their mother, not you! You don’t get to critisize me as a mother, or my kids, because let me tell you…. you are dead wrong. You are making a harsh snap judgement, and I urge you to avoid that, because let me tell you… my snap judgement on you isn’t very positive. But truthfully, if kids laughing is bringing you so much displeasure, you have bigger problems than I do, so I will be praying for you!

If you see a mother in the store with 3 kids, and it looks like she isn’t paying attention, instead of scolding her, why not presume the best in her. You have NO idea what the last 5 minutes of her life looked, or what the next 5 minutes would look like, and wouldn’t it be a shame if the straw you added to her back broke her? What good does that do anyone? Nothing! So what’s the point? To make your voice heard? Well guess what… your opinions don’t always need to be heard (gasp!). True. Your opinions belong to one person, and here’s a hint… it isn’t me.

So what happened?

I shared in my instagram stories on Saturday, but incase you missed it… here’s a brief synopsis, and don’t worry… I share some tips at the end!

On Saturday, I felt the urge to make new stockings, so like any “sane” mother, I loaded up the minivan with my 3 “spirited” kids, and jetted over there! Plus, I was kind of dying to see all their cute Christmas decor, and see if they had any Halloween stuff left on sale. I digress… I went to Hobby Lobby.

We headed straight for the fabric, because I know I have a time limit with these kiddos. I am usually pretty proud of their listening and behavior, so most of the time I reward them with 5 minutes to look at the toys. And they LOVE it. It’s so cute! Well this time, I had to ask them several times to stop taking bolts of fabric off the lines, stop running into the stroller, to sit in the stroller, to be a little more quiet, to stop eating Hallie’s goldfish, to just say hi to the birdies on the shelf, to stop talking to loudly, etc etc etc. So I let them know if I had to ask one more time, they would loose their privilege of looking at the toys. They settled a little, and I was finally able to zero in on the perfect fabric!!

So I take it to get cut… this is where all hell broke loose and I didn’t even realize it. As this woman was cutting my fabric, we found out that we went to the same church. Meanwhile, my kids are near the end of their attention span, and are being a little silly. The lady cutting my fabric smiled at them with adoration, as did a few other ladies (which is pretty typical), so I didn’t bother to really say anything further to them. They weren’t being disrespectful to anyone, they weren’t touching store items, they weren’t (really) running, or making eachother mad… they were making weird noises and laughing at each other. Annoying, yes, but sweet to see them laughing together.

As we finished up, we said thank you to the lady at the fabric counter and proceeded to check out, without looking at the toys. They didn’t throw a fit or anything because they knew they had made some not so awesome choices. Anyhow, we get out to the car and I’m loading in my precious cargo, when out of my peripheral I see this elderly woman standing near the back of my car. I find myself wondering if she lost her car, can’t find her keys, lost something in the store, etc etc. As I finish loading in the kids, and go to get in, she stops me and says “my daughter has a child and they would never yell in a store”.

At this point, I’m still clueless, and am wondering where this is going.

I start to think to say “oh boy, I need to learn some of her tricks” ( just trying to keep stranger talk light right?)… and she continues.

“I had two kids and I never went in public until I knew they could behave… you really should stay home until your kids can behave.”

WHAT THE ACTUAL HECK?!!!

I was dumbfounded that a perfect stranger would go out of their way to throw a damper on my day and criticize my parenting. As a mom, wrangling 3 kids is NOT easy! Especially when their wills are strong and their little bodies are extremely active!

I still tried to keep things as polite as possible and let her know “it would serve her well to mind her own business” and she let me know that “it becomes her business when she can’t even shop at a store without my kids bothering her.” I let her know that the way she was behaving was insanely inappropriate and that as a mother, I would think she would show more compassion and care to other mothers, especially when she doesn’t even know the situation at hand at all. She started walking off and said “I don’t need to respond to this, I’m a retired teacher, and they need to learn to behave before they go off to school!”

Little does this precious woman know, my boys are both in school. Nolan is doing great, and is a joy in his class. And Davis is too. Davis has focus issues, that I am desperately trying to figure out. I have been in communication with his teachers, I volunteer in his class once a week, I have spoken to his pediatrician, his school counselor and gotten recommendations for other doctors to help him focus and have less anxiety.

It felt so unfair to be judged so harshly for something this woman has NO clue about. I am so imperfect, just like every other mother out there! My claim isn’t that I have all the answers or am perfect. Not at all! However, I do claim that I work as hard as I can just like all the other mothers I see out there. We are all learning this role for the first time. Everyday it’s something new, and nobody fully prepares you for the harsh realities that await you as you enter parenthood… how could they?

So, through all of this, you want to know my take aways and tips?

First, if you see a mom in a store with young kids, be a source of good. Because lets face it, she’s probably seen more opposition from those tiny humans than she deserves. Let your face be a happy face to lift her spirits. Through a silient nod, tell her that her kids are adorable, let her know that she’s doing a good job… anything to lift or elevate her!

Second, if you see someone saying something negative… go and be a source of good to pad that poor mamas heart.

Third, reserve ALL judgements, and know that your opinions do NOT need to be heard if they are going to tear someone else down. Tearing people down will not make anything better.

Fourth, BUILD YOUR TRIBE!!!

After I had this experience, and took to my IG stories to break down and vent, I had NOTHING but insane amounts of love pour out to me, friends calling to check in on me, messages letting me know that i AM a GREAT mother, and to not let this hurt me. I had such a hard time fully feeling that in the moment, but deep down I knew what they were saying was true.

If I didn’t have the tribe of insanely good women in my life, I really believe this could have really wrecked me for a very long time, but I’m so grateful that I spoke about it, and I had love fill my soul. Find your tribe, band together with them! If you need a tribe like this, please message me! Nobody should have to experience these highs and lows of parenthood alone, and you don’t have to!

I keep having this quote come to mind from Margaret Nadauld :

“Women of God can never be like women of the world. The world has enough women who are tough; we need women who are tender. There are enough women who are coarse; we need women who are kind. There are enough women who are rude; we need women who are refined. We have enough women of fame and fortune; we need more women of faith. We have enough greed; we need more goodness. We have enough vanity; we need more virtue. We have enough popularity; we need more purity.”

As women, we have so many things pulling at our time and attention. Wouldn’t it be a shame if we let the wrong sources win? If we let evil win? We don’t need to be tough women who are course, we need to be women that are tender and kind. We need to show our kids through example what it means to stand in the face of the advesary and say “NOT TODAY SATAN!!!!”

Let’s be women who are good, tender and kind, and try to spread that like wildfire! We need more of that in our communities! When we as women band together to support and empower each other, seriously amazing things happen!

I love you babes, and am so grateful for your love!!!

Can you do Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens with little kids?!

We recently made the trip to the Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA with the kids, and honestly it was so much fun! We had never been before, so we were all pretty excited and anxious about the whole experience. I had done some reading about the park and what to expect for the kids beforehand, but it’s hard to know how everything flows till you get there.

We drove up from North Carolina, and it took about 2.5 hours. The parking situation was pretty organized. You pay $20 just like you do at Disney, and they direct you to one of their several parking lots. They do a great job directing people so that the lots fill up evenly, and there’s not a lot of traffic in one spot. They then have shuttles that take you from the parking lot to the park. Now, this was one of my most favorite things of the whole trip….. I DIDN’T have to break down the stroller! Do you hear me?? I DID NOT have to unload the entire stroller, and even take out the kids! That is always the most stressful part, and we got to avoid that entirely. *happy dance!!*

You also want to know another little secret??

People that had strollers have a separate line than everyone else, and there are sections of the shuttle dedicated just to stroller families. We got to the park around 1:00, and there was quite a wait in the normal line for the shuttle, but the line for strollers was completely empty, so we got right on. If I were you, and you have kids… I would for SURE bring a stroller, even just for that part. It was very helpful!

When we got in, we already had two tickets, but we still had to go purchase the kids tickets. They have ticket booths with people in them to accept payment, but they also have automated machines to the left. I found those had no wait time, where the actual ticket booths had a little line. You can also purchase tickets online and most of the time get a discount and avoid this step all together!

After you get your tickets, you head to the security line where they check your bags, which is all pretty standard. But again, they were quick, efficient and organized, and we didn’t have to unload the kids which I really appreciated!

When you get in, immediately you can feel all the fun Halloween vibes. The kids were so excited! As you go in, they have height check stations for kids where they have someone measure you and give you a card with an assigned color on it, and a list of rides that you are eligible to ride because of your color. It’s a super easy way to know quickly what rides your kids can go on, and which ones are a no go.

They have an app you can download too, along with paper maps that help you get around the park. On the app, it also gives other information like wait times, tips, restaurants, show times, things to do for kids, and more! Both the paper map and app show kid friendly areas so you know where to stay if you have kiddos.

Did you know that they also have a super responsive first aid team? We got to experience this first hand!

As we were running from one exhibit to the next, our oldest fell down and scratched his knee. He was obviously super sad about it, and a staff member saw us pretty quickly and asked if she could call over first aid. I didn’t want to be waiting all day for a scraped knee, so I was hesitant to say yes but I did, and they were SO fast. She radioed it in, and someone was there in a matter of a couple minutes. Everyone was so sweet to my boy trying to help him feel comfortable. It was such a sweet thing to see. The EMT even gave us some extra knee band aids, which came in handy when our second son fell down too. We clearly have very coordinated kids.

We played for a bit, and then found ourselves with a massive appetite! We brought in some snacks, but needed actual food! We went to Marco Polo’s Marketplace, which is a fun Italian, Mediterranean and Asian place with tons of seating. They have each genre line for each type of food. Each style has kids meals too, which was nice to have so much for the kids to choose from. They also had fresh fruit and desserts! If you’re going to be there all day long, and like to eat, it might be worth getting their all day meal deal. We spent $60 for our family to get 2 adult meals, 3 kids meals, a dessert and drinks, which was plenty of food for our family of 5 and not terrible pricing for park food.

The quality of food was pretty surprising. In a VERY good way!! I got the orange chicken with noodles, my husband got the half chicken with potatoes, and the kids got mac n cheese. Both my husband and I commented on how good this food was! I didn’t expect that. With theme park food, you go in with pretty low expectations, but these far outweighed it we both thought!

Next on the list… more play time and rides!

Our favorite kids areas were Sesame Street and Land of the Dragons.

Sesame Street had so many cute and fun fall activities for kids including a hay maze and trick or treating, which gave some candy, and some fruit leathers and healthier options. It was a great mix I thought! They also had a craft corner for the kids to create some cute Halloween art! Besides that, they also had several rides for the kids to enjoy!

Land of the Dragons was super cool. They have a super cool Huck Finn sort of treehouse for the kids to climb and explore through the area. There are also several rides, and even a little cushy area for the littles (ie our 17 month old). She loved walking around on it and exploring the different textures and colors!

Both of these areas sadly closed at 5:00 so the staff could prepare for Howl-O-Scream.

So many of the reviews said that it wasn’t suitable for kids to stay past 5:00, and so initially we went thinking that we would have to leave at 5:00 after all the kids rides and areas closed. But when 5:00 hit, none of us was ready to leave. So we just kept walking around, checked out the gift shops and before we knew it we were starting to see fog, and hear creepy sounds (screams, creeky doors, spooky music, etc).

We kept looking to the kids to gauge how they were doing, but they were loving it! We were playing in the fog, and really getting into the suspenseful Halloween spirit. It was fun! We even got to see Jack and take pictures with him!! We didn’t go see Jack is Back (the show) without knowing how it would be with the kids, but it was fun taking pictures with him, and he was really sweet with the kids!

He really was so nice, Davis just wouldn’t give him a chance lol

The staff does get into costume and make up to create spooky characters, but they’re not gorey, just spooky. They would go around and scare people as they were walking through the park, but I was actually super impressed because *most* of them were very cautious of the kids. There was one girl that scared my son, I think by accident, but I wanted to run her over with the stroller. I didn’t, but I wanted to. But other than that, everyone else was very curtious of the kids. I would have my kids say “hi” to help them feel like these “creatures” were friendly, and I think that helped the staff know that they needed to be gentle. And they all were. They were giving high fives, and fist bumps. It was very sweet.

Our last item of business was to ride the train back to Scotland where we parked. The line again was super fast to get through and very easy to navigate. Here you do need to break down the stroller, but it wasn’t too bad, especially since it was the end of the day and we were all wearing our jackets anyhow.

All in all it was a very positive experience and we loved taking our kids here! They had a blast and all fell asleep in the car on the way to the hotel, which never happens!! Thank you Busch Gardens for a very fun filled weekend! We will be back!

How We’ve Overcome Bullying

When I was in middle school, I was bullied. None of it was physical, thank goodness, but the emotional damage was pretty extensive.

I grew up in a pretty religious community, and went to the same church with a lot of my neighbors and school mates. There was a day I went to my locker that a few of us shared, and as I walked up they asked if I wanted me to pop some pills with them. I instinctively said no because honestly I thought it was a joke. I didn’t think anyone would really be so stupid to 1) pop a handful of pills that you didn’t know how they would mix and react in your body, and 2) to do that during school! But that one word “no”, and in those 2 seconds, I sealed my fate for the rest of middle school and high school before I even really knew what was going on.

At the next break, I went back to my locker to find all my stuff thrown out of the locker and on the ground. Nobody was around, so I honestly had no clue what was going on. I gathered my things and went out to the bus. My “friends” were already out there and let me know I couldn’t sit with them because I was too “goodie goodie” to be around them. Then it all went down hill from there.

They spread the news like wildfire not to be friends with me. They would yell at me, call me names and curse at me in the hallways. I ate lunch alone in the cafeteria if I was brave, or in the bathroom on the toilet seat if I was scared or couldn’t stop myself from crying. This went on for 2 very long lonely years. And what was worse, is I saw these girls at church. I heard them preaching Christlike love and charity, but the next day at school it was the same drama as the week before.

One day, an angel of a person came into my life. I was sitting by myself in the cafeteria, and this sweet sweet girl walked up and sat by me and just started talking to me like we already knew each other. Jenny quickly became my best friend until my family moved a year later. My goodness am I so grateful for this sweet soul who came into my life at a time that I SO needed it! She showed me the love and charity that I so longed for. Her example is something I have shared with dozens of teenage girls, and will share with my own kids someday!

Me and Jenny still keep in touch!

16 years later, and I’ve got 3 babes of my own, one of which is in Kindergarten. Honestly, I am terrified that he will be bullied. He’s one of the sweetest kids, and has one of the biggest hearts. But here’s the thing. I don’t feel the need to protect and hover and hope he doesn’t get bullied. I mean I do hope he doesn’t have to feel that, but the odds are that he will. So instead, I feel this need to prep my kids for the inevitable of when it happens.

Kids are just mean sometimes. They don’t know how to regulate their emotions, they all have bad days, they have home situations that nobody realizes, they may have not slept well the night before, or had much of a breakfast… all of these things and more totally play a huge role in kids behaviors. I’m by no means making excuses for bad behavior, but I’m trying to look at this from the perspective of how to help our kids understand bullies and to teach them how to react to bad behavior. I mean they’re all experiencing this growing up thing at the same time, learning about themselves and their environment, and they’re feeling pretty vulnerable. When I feel those things, even as a grown adult, I don’t always react the best. So why are we so surprised when our kids end up making bad choices when they’re feeling out of control? Honestly, we shouldn’t.

Do I wish I wasn’t bullied? Well duh… of course! But am I grateful for the experience and growth that I’ve had from it? Without a doubt! I have been able to help so many different people because of my experiences. And I want to prepare my kids the same way.

I try to prep my kids and say “if there’s a kid that isn’t nice to you, that’s okay, that’s his choice. But that doesn’t mean that you get to make those bad choices and be mean back.” I try to remind them that we all have sad or grumpy days where we just don’t make the best choices, and maybe these kids are just having a sad or grumpy day. I remind them that they have a choice, and they don’t have to play with someone if they’re being mean to them, but to try to communicate their feelings first and then go do something else.

This parenting thing is so hard, so lets band together! We all want the best for our babies, and want them to grow up to be rockstar adults that contribute to society in a positive way, and I just know that it starts here. It starts with kind words, and a generous heart! Let’s help our babies spread more love!

xoxo my friends, trista

15 Must Haves for Fall!

Now don’t get me wrong, I am obsessed with summer. Like so obsessed! And this was one of my most favorite summers yet! The vacations, sunshine, lazy pool days, beach trips, days before carpool and structure have to set in. It’s the best! However, with the shift of school starting, and cooler temperatures on the horizon, we need to shift our daily arsenal a bit.

Here’s my list of 15 things I’m going to be sure to have prepped with so I can enjoy this upcoming season!

  1. Liquid IV
liquid iv hydration

Liquid IV will be something we keep in our house year round, but especially as the seasons are changing, I always want a line of defense against germs and ways to help my body combat any illness that comes. I was just sick on Sunday, and I swear this helped my body have the hydration it needed to heal and get better a lot faster than normal!

2. Immunity Essential Oils

germ destroyer essential oil

I’m not super into oils, but when it comes to strengthening my immune system, I’ll do it all! Especially with the kids to combat all the school germs, and this stuff is awesome for it!

3. Elderberry

elderberry

I didn’t know about this until right before our vacation to Hawaii back in March, and my sister told me about this stuff. It totally shortens the lengths of colds, and helps immunity. It’s pretty incredible stuff!

4. A Comfy Soft Sweater

fall white sweater

I know I’m not the only one that lives in sweaters in the fall, so I found this awesome lightweight sweater for less than $15!! And yes, I just ordered it! Which brings me to my next one….

5. Leggings

leggings

Now here’s the thing about leggings. I am a Lululemon LOVER. I’ll always be that way. But sometimes, you just can’t spend $100 on leggings. And that’s okay because with a super saturated market, you can find some decent deals and NOT have to spend $100 to get the things you want. For me, that side pocket is non negotiable! I need that, so I tend to go for sportier looking leggings! I also have to make sure they are ankle length and fitted all the way down to the ankle. How else could you where them with some super cute boots??

6. Rider Boots

rider boots

How cute are these? And for under $25 you can certainly afford the fall refresh!! Everyone needs some cute rider boots! I love this color because it goes with everything… I literally wear mine everyday in fall!

7. Cozy Scarf

fall scarf

How cute is this? Such a good find for under $10! When I was nursing, I would always use a scarf as a “cover up” of sorts! Such a perfect way to add a splash of pattern or color!

8. Hot Chocolate Mug

hot chocolate mugs

Tis the season for hot chocolate… I love how gorgeous these clear hot chocolate glasses are! And while we’re at it… Oreo hot chocolate? Yes please!!!

9. Pumpkin Spice Syrup

pumpkin spice syrup

Okay, so I love putting syrups in my drinks! For my soda, I love doing coconut or vanilla. And for my hot chocolate, pumpkin spice is literally the best!! You’ll thank me later.

10. Smore’s Tray from Carolina Wood Company

Shameless plug, but how cute are these? We love roasting marshmallows and hanging out by the fire during those cooler fall nights. My husband and I made these cute smore’s trays and we’re so excited by them! Check them out here!

11. Updated Pillow Case Covers

buffalo plaid pillow case
fall pillow cases

Pillow cases can really transform a room! I love having these cute black and white buffalo pillow cases as a staple, and then switch out a couple during fall and Christmas! It’s kind of the perfect match!

12. Entryway Rug

buffalo plaid entry rug

I just ordered one of these to go under our front porch mat, and I’m obsessed with the look of it! I scotch-guarded it so when it comes time to wash it, it hopefully will clean up pretty well!

13. Fall Wreath

fall wreath

It’s not fall until I finally put out my fall wreath! I love how instantly it transforms the whole porch!

14. Porch Pumpkins

front porch pumpkins

Gotta put out some cute pumpkins too! I love the different sizes of these too!

15. Fall Scented Candle

bath and body works candle

I am such a sucker for a good candle, and you cannot go wrong with the Bath and Body Works candles! We tried this scent last year and loved it! There’s so many good ones!

Hope this got you as excited for fall as it did for me! Let me know what things your looking forward to during fall! What are your fall must haves? Leave a comment below so I can add it to my list!

Dealing with social anxiety postpartum

Have you ever been in a room of people and felt completely alone? Have you ever had someone ask you to come hang out and felt like a black wall was all your mind could see? You couldn’t muster the energy to actually go. You ignored phone calls and texts of people that you love. Have you felt completely immovable? Have you just wanted to hide?

I have.

Okay so imagine this… you are a new mother. Your hormones are raging. You had just moved to a new state 2 months before this moment without knowing hardly anyone… You’re at one of the most vulnerable times in your life. Your husband gets a new job, so you’re at home alone with your perfect newborn baby 5 days of the week because he’s traveling. He’s a demanding baby, and cries A. LOT, which makes you feel like a complete failure in your ability to mother him “properly”. You don’t have a social outlet, or a group to really help buoy you up. When family asks how you are doing, you say “I’m fine”, but what you don’t say, and even understand is that you are struggling hard. And it’s taking every bit of energy to get out of bed in the morning. You’re crying a lot. You say no to social events because you don’t have anything to wear that you feel remotely comfortable in….. let me rephrase that. You don’t have anything to wear that is “socially acceptable” that you feel comfortable.

Having your first baby is just about the hardest “on the site” job training that you can ever receive. Nobody can possibly prepare you for the realities of what is about to happen, although I wish so desperately that someone had prepared me emotionally to care for my mental health. It was all “how’s that baby doing?” “let’s measure you” “let’s measure the baby” “lets count those kicks”… you get the point. I don’t recall a single meaningful discussion about my mental health and what to look for and how to see these triggers in myself. I had no clue what to look for or what I was feeling. It all felt very foreign to me.

After my second, we moved again and as much as I loved being active and working out, I had such a hard time getting myself to the gym. I SO vividly remember my first workout in my new gym in North Carolina. I was 3 months postpartum, felt very uncomfortable in my own skin, and it felt as though all eyes were on me. I logically knew that, but I couldn’t shake the strong feeling of unbelonging. I felt so uncomfortable and anxious.

I took this photo on that day.

The key for me was to continue. Continue even though I felt so uncomfortable. Continue even though it felt like I physically couldn’t move. Continue even though I straight up didn’t want to! At a few different stages, I sought medical advice and was put on medication, which was a tricky game to figure out on its own. But even though every bit of my being wanted to just to “protect” myself and stay in bed, I knew I needed this. So I kept going! And thank goodness I did.

The gym is now my haven. I go 5 days a week, and it keeps my mind and body healthy. I am no longer on medication, but I now know what works with me and what doesn’t. Another tool I’ve received is: if I ever have those sneaky thoughts enter in, I don’t give them any attention. I push past them and I keep moving. It’s so hard to do, especially when literally every fiber of your being is telling you “Halt! Danger ahead!”

I still have moments when friends ask me to go out, or to make plans and it feels like my feet are put in cement. I can’t move or break from them. But I try to give those thoughts no mind, and push through. I am almost always glad that I do, and I try to remember that. Social anxiety is a crazy emotion to feel, and I think the most important thing to remember is that we are NOT alone. Everyone I’ve ever talked to, if they are being honest, has had these feelings too. It’s more common than we realize and I think by opening up about it, we allow those “sneaky thoughts” to leave more quickly before they can affect us.

If your mind is telling you can’t do it, remind it that you are fearless and you will not be bullied into believing you are anything less than the queen you are!